Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) has taken a minority stake in Athletic Brewing Company, the American non-alcoholic craft beer maker. The transaction represents KDP’s latest move into rapidly emerging beverage categories, following its acquisition of non-alcoholic ready-to-drink cocktail brand Atypique.
The $50 million investment by KDP provides the company with an equity stake in Athletic Brewing that is comparable to other lead investors, namely TRB Advisors and Alliance Consumer Growth. KDP will have a seat on the company’s Board of Directors. Further terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Athletic Brewing was founded in 2017 by Bill Shufelt and John Walker and is a top-20 U.S. craft brewer, according to Nielsen. In 2022, Athletic Brewing was ranked as the 26th fastest-growing private company in America by Inc. Magazine and was also named to Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential Companies” list.
Non-alcoholic beer in the U.S. grew almost 20% in retail dollars over the past year, with the craft segment, where Athletic Brewing holds a 55% market share, far outpacing total category growth. Athletic Brewing has a lineup of more than 40 brews.
Non-alcoholic beer accounts for over 85% of total sales in the fast-growing category of non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits, as an increasing number of consumers moderate their alcohol consumption.
“Athletic Brewing is a winning brand in a rapidly growing beverage segment. Our investment reflects our interest and ability to move into exciting white spaces, including in the blurring of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic categories,” said Keurig Dr Pepper executive chairman Bob Gamgort. “We look forward to partnering with the Athletic Brewing team to help them scale the business.”
“We’re thrilled to welcome Keurig Dr Pepper as an investor and strategic partner,” Shufelt said. “Their team brings a tremendous amount of expertise and truly embraces our mission of brewing great-tasting non-alcoholic beers that are fit for all times. This investment will enable Athletic Brewing to further accelerate our growth across North America.”